A British backpacker allegedly held hostage and raped in the Australian outback went to hospital before her road trip, as details of her New Zealand-born companion's violent past came to light.
The 22-year-old is recovering "in the care of friends and family" after being released from hospital, Queensland Police said on Wednesday.
It has emerged that even before setting off on the road trip, the backpacker went to a hospital in Cairns with an injury to her eyebrow which required stitches.
According to Queensland's Courier Mail, hospital staff asked her whether she had been assaulted - and whether the injury was related to domestic violence - but she left without responding. This was apparently several days before the pair set off.
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Police are continuing to investigate whether there was a specific reason for the road trip, which took the pair into a remote outback region in southern Queensland.
The alleged offender claimed he was planning to travel to Charleville and had lined up work there. But Charleville is a tiny township with relatively few job opportunities.
In addition the man had never had a steady job and was believed to be receiving welfare benefits.
"He is pretty much a drifter," the source said. "He does not stay in one place very long."
His Facebook profile suggests he is from New Zealand and that he was a fan of the outlaw bikers group Rebels Motorcycle Club.
The man, who has not been named for legal reasons, spent six months in prison in 2013 for a drug-fuelled attack in 2012, in which he ordered a pizza delivery and then attacked the driver and stole the pizza and less than A$20.
He had been partying with three friends in Cairns - taking LSD and alcohol during a housewarming party that had lasted three days - when they decided to "roll", or rob, a pizza delivery driver. But it was the suspect - apparently to the surprise of his friends - who violently assaulted the man, taking a plank of wood and hitting the driver on the back of the head.
He had also been charged with a previous offence in Cairns as a 16-year-old.
He seems to have disappeared from Cairns after his prison stint and headed to Sydney, but turned up again in his home town late last year. Friends believed he had no job and were surprised to see him driving around the city in a four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Pajero - which later became the vehicle in which he allegedly kidnapped and assaulted the 22-year-old Briton.
A friend of the suspect said he had problems with drugs and "has a ton of anger stuck in his head".
As fresh details surfaced about the alleged rapist's criminal history, a clearer image has emerged of how the young tourist's two-year holiday in Australia turned into a tragedy.
The backpacker, from Liverpool, had been living in a shared house in the north-east city of Cairns as she neared the end of her two-year stay in Australia. Her Australian visa was due to expire in just over a month.
She had spent her time in Australia on the east coast, visiting Sydney and spending time in the coastal cities of Brisbane and the Gold Coast before making her way to Cairns, a popular backpacker spot.
In Cairns on January 27, she attended a "bush doof" - or dance party - in a stretch of rainforest and met her alleged rapist.
The pair began a relationship but - according to police - it quickly turned violent. The first incident in which she was raped, strangled and assaulted apparently occurred on February 3. In mid-February, she was allegedly held against her will at a hotel in Cairns.
The backpacker was rescued on Sunday in the outback farming town of Mitchell after she went to a petrol station, where the attendant noticed her cuts and black eyes and alerted police after she failed to pay for the petrol.
After the cashier contacted police, officers pulled over the vehicle she was driving in the town of Mitchell, around 300 miles from the east coast city of Brisbane. When they searched the car, the officers found her alleged abductor buried under clothes in a rear alcove
The suspect is being held in prison in south Queensland after appearing in court on Monday charged with a string of offences, including four counts of rape, eight counts of assault and four counts of strangulation. He was refused bail and is due to appear in court on May 23.
A Queensland detective later said the backpacker had been subjected to "significant level of violence and catastrophic offences".
The young woman has reportedly left hospital, and is apparently planning to spend several more weeks recovering with friends and family in Australia before heading back to Liverpool.
She received treatment for a host of injuries including facial fractures.
Police would not reveal the location of the woman.
Authorities initially said they believed the offences began at the beginning of January. Police revised the timeframe on Wednesday of the alleged offences, which they now say took place across about four weeks.
The woman and her family do not intend to conduct any interviews at this time, police said in the statement.
She has been in contact with family back in the UK, who had issued an appeal last month via Facebook to her friends in Australia after she reportedly "fell off the radar".
A friend of the backpacker said the alleged kidnapper had become obsessed with the woman and changed his Facebook profile to 'married' shortly after meeting her.
"He just rocked up, they hooked up and he never left her side," another friend of the backpacker told 7 News.
"A lot of the areas would've been unknown to her and (she) wouldn't have known anyone there so it would've been difficult for her to make an escape."
Australia has seen a number of attacks against young travellers in recent years. Among them was Mia Ayliffe-Chung, a British backpacker killed in Queensland last August.
Following the latest incident, Ayliffe-Chung's mother has called on the Australian government to do more to protect young travellers.
"I imagine her family is traumatised by this. It's absolutely awful, it's so frightening what they must be going through," Rosie Ayliffe told ABC News.
Jackie Trad, Queensland Deputy Premier, has sought to assure tourists the state is still a safe place to visit, in the wake of the "absolutely horrific"attack.
"It's absolutely horrific," Trad told ABC Radio Brisbane.
"Any sort of violence against women is absolutely intolerable and as part of a government where there is very strong representation by women around the cabinet table, we are focused on making our communities, our homes, as safe as possible for women and children."
Originally published in Telegraph UK